New Zealand

Impact of decriminalisation


"Entrepeneurs" John and Michael Chow, aka the "brothel
(Photo: Ross Giblin/Dominion Post)

New Zealand marketed as a destination for sex-buying
(Photo: Expat Daily News)


In 2003, New Zealand decriminalized prostitution.  A review of our posted articles (see Get Informed-News-Prostitution-NZ) shows that decriminalisation -

  • Young women
    • Is luring increasing numbers of “desperate” young women into prostitution. article (see alternative view: article)
    • Is luring overseas students studying in New Zealand legally, to engage in prostitution illegally. article
    • Is luring foreign women (mostly Asian) to New Zealand illegally, to engage in prostitution. article; article
  • Children and youth
    • Has led to a rise in child prostitution. articlearticle
    • Has reduced the sexual exploitation and rape of children to a mere social, rather than criminal, issue. articlearticle
    • Has not resulted in a law enforcement crackdown on child sexual exploiters, as promised. articlearticle; article
  • Health, safety, violence and gender inequality
    • Has not prevented murders of women in prostitution. article; article
    • Has not prevented other forms of violence against women in prostitution. see section below or here
    • Has not prevented women from being forced to "work" in slave-like conditions. article
    • Requires women in prostitution who operate in unsafe or slave-like conditions to seek expensive and drawn-out legal redress against their employer through the Employment Court (personal grievance claim). article
    • Has led to "bargain-basement" sex-for-sale prices in some brothels. article
    • Has not deterred unsafe sex practices, with unprotected sex offered for the "right price". article
    • Has led to a broadening of genres being sought by sex buyers, and met (eg "heavily pregnant and lactating"). article
    • Continues to entrench gender inequality, where the "paymaster" is dominant and young women are reduced to sexual subservience. article
  • Communities
    • Has impacted negatively on residential communities, where sex traders' rights prevail over residents' rights. article; article; article; article; article
    • Has impacted negatively on business communities, where sex traders' rights prevail over business owners' rights. article
    • Has normalised prostitution, despite politicians' promises it would not. article
  • Local councils
    • Has caused ongoing bureaucratic problems for local bodies and city councils, wasting huge (ratepayer funded) resources. article; article; article
  • Legal pimping/profiteering
    • Has seen a big increase in Asian-run brothels relative to population size (9.2% as of 2010 source). article
    • Has turned former pimps and brothel owners into "entrepreneurs", paving the way for sex business expansions including mega-brothels. article; article; article 
    • Has seen a rise in non-sex businesses profiting from the sex industry (eg the New Zealand Herald, profiting from the advertising dollar, runs daily advertisements offering sex buyers a smorgasbord of mostly young women of varying ages, ethnicities, characteristics, (in)experience and breast cup size).
    • Has widened the market reach to include cut-out discount coupons for sex buyers. article
  • Illegal profiteers
    • Has seen a dramatic increase in commercial unlicensed brothels. article
    • Has seen the springing up of a large illegal sex industry. article
  • Trafficking for the sex trade
    • Assists traffickers (actual and prospective) by removing a major obstacle within prostitution, its illegality. article
    • Makes it harder for trafficking victims to be distinguished from foreign women with false passports who are committing Immigration offences. articlearticle 
  • Sex tourism 
    • Has seen New Zealand marketed internationally as a sex tourist destination for sex-buying retirees. article